“Get Help” and Helpful Links

Today, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden passed away because of reasons you can look up yourself.

In short, he took his own life. Afterward, I’ve seen too many people post things along of “Get Help” and insert some random link to a hotline. I know everyone means well but from personal experience as an OCD depressive person, I can tell you now that none of that shit helps. Often people who are down don’t know they need help or don’t think they deserve it in the first place.

You will not likely change someone who is down in the dumps’ life for posting that stuff. What is more valuable is taking the time to reach out to those you personally know who might be suffering and showing you truly care. Don’t just fight the stigma of mental illness. Fight the fact that you have to survive it alone.

 

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It’s Okay To Disconnect If You Need It

There’s so much going on in the world that I start to constantly feel guilt that I am not paying attention 24/7. Anxiety is feeding on more anxiety and I know that it’s not healthy.

Being connected has always been a part of my personal life and work, but now more than ever I am trying to convince myself that it’s ok if I need time off. To stop reading, if only for a few hours.

I’ve been more politically active online and offline (through donations), but it’s ok to take care of myself too. To force myself offline for a bit, I’ve committed to more activities with friends like Monday night trivia at the bar (no phones allowed) and Board Game nights. Breaks alone are important too (but easier to catch myself back on the computer).

Does anybody else feel like they must be glued to screens at all time or feel insane FOMO/guilt? I’m here to tell you you’re not alone.

Let’s Do More Than Talk

Today is the yearly Bell Let’s Talk Day. Even though it’s totally a corporate marketing campaign and the company itself has it’s own internal issues, I think it’s still a very valuable day that needs to keep happening.

Since the very first Bell Let’s Talk I participated in, I started to talk more openly about my experiences and diagnoses with anxiety. It’s kind of stupid but having a day, or a hashtag felt like a wall I could hide behind and it felt safe and I soon realized that many of my friends face similar challenges and that I’m not alone.

Though I tweeted a few posts today, I stepped back from the amount I would normally talk today. Instead, I read everybody else’s posts. I saw some people open up with things I would’ve not known otherwise. I reflected on how I will be more patient and understanding to certain people. I reached out to people to let them know I’d do what I could to help them when they needed it.

Days like this, corporate or not, will not stop being important until we all make efforts to make this an important discussion every day, ask our leaders to increase funding for programs and allow people in our lives to feel safe asking for help.

Social Anxiety at Events

anxious

It’s holiday season. That means tons of social events with work, family and friends. My life has a lot of that stuff in general but around the holidays, a lot of it can be condensed into a short period of time.

What a lot of people don’t seem to know – and I have definitely improved on – is my social anxiety.

I often feel like my mind has left my body and am watching myself feeling like a tomato in a room full of potatoes.

That was probably a bizarre comparison but I often feel like everyone is so confident with small talk (or talking in general) that I don’t know what to say. Or worse it comes out as verbal diarrhea.

The thing I realized is: I’m not alone.

I had a meet up the other day and an artist that I was hanging out with, who is a totally badass performer live had the same shyness and anxieties in the room that I did. We talked to each other about being afraid to chat with people but then proceeded to think of opening lines. It was kind of fun to know that someone else was having similar reservations, especially someone who is super confident on stage.

We met and bonded with some new people. It’s totally okay to be a ball of nervous energy.

December Can Be Overwhelming

December can be a hard month for anxiety. I’m anxious for the year to be over. I’m anxious to finish Christmas shopping. I’m anxious to spend more time with family. I’m anxious about all the goals I set for myself, and what I did and didn’t achieve.

Pulling through the last stretch, but hanging in there. I hope you all are too!

Unplugging was good for me

Dim sum royalty

A post shared by Tiana Feng (@tianafeng) on

Saturday, I hardly checked my phone. My friends made up a day called ASIA DAY where we went for dim sum, bought snacks, play mahjong/board games, had hot pot, went karaoking, all on the same day.

It was an activity jammed day with friends that I think all of us had needed. None of us really felt the need (or the want really) to be on our phones and it felt healthy and I feel much more clear-minded than I was before the weekend.

Plus, I got to try out a fancy dim sum place I’ve never been to. Food heals many wounds.

Anxiety…

hyperventilating

I’m having a weird day where everything is trigger an internal panic attack. Right now, I don’t know if sitting at home is better. I can’t find my mail key and probably won’t stop frantically looking if I stay here. I spilled a trail of coffee down the hallway this morning. A bug scared the hell out of me in my apartment.

Tiny things add up and although sometimes I value the alone time to cry, or relax or whatever, going out has it’s values of forgetting the dumb things that I am currently anxious about.

So off I go to a Simpsons Halloween marathon and a concert!

Turning on the light 

SADS is hitting hard right now as the days are getting shorter. Mornings are too dark and by the time I get home from work the sun is setting. 

I take Vitamin D3 and I have started turning on my Happy Light again. I don’t generally use it in the warmer months because the sun shines longer.

Placebo or not it does work for me if I have it on for 30 minutes. I wish I could have it on my desk at work but I’m scared that it would be too weird so it’s just on my desk at home.

What are your tips for curing SADS? 

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

It’s no secret here that I talk openly about mental health. Every January, I have participated in #BellLetstalk, a campaign where Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health programs with every tweet that has the hashtag. There’s a lot of people out there who are rightly critical about the corporate agenda, but as I spoke last year, one day is better than none.

I would’ve killed to feel less alone in 2009, to read the tweets of thousands of millions of people who were in similar situations. It would’ve been wonderful to read the tales of how some overcome their illnesses or how others live with them. I shared my own battle with anxiety here. There was a period of time where I thought exiting this world would be easier than staying in it.

Thankfully, I am still here and willing to share my stories so that I can save someone else’s life. That’s why this day is important. If somebody reads a tweet and it saves their life, even if it’s one person, even if it was because of a stupid corporate hashtag, it is worth it in the end.

November Was Dark

DSCF3617

My November blogs posts haven’t been very good. They are a bit uninspired, with few words and mostly just pictures that I found lying about. It wasn’t that I was particularly busy (after all summer is over), but my mind has been in a dark place. November depression is a real thing.  

I’m still reluctant to talk about mental health at times, it is scary and I fear that whoever reads this will judge me but it’s important to talk about it. It’s especially meaningful for those that are dealing with the same thing to know that you’re not alone.

I don’t know what particularly about November that makes it so depressing. Summer is over, the days are shorter, the weather is colder. Leaving the house gets particularly hard, even when there are so many places to go. I feel burnt out and the more I start to thing about it, the deeper I fall.

I found that offline activites like colouring and lego have helped to take my mind off things. I’ve also been spending more social time with friends (that aren’t just attending concerts). From The Bloggess I learnt that depression lies. I just have to make my good days super awesome.  

Let’s get through November together and look forward to an awesome December!